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Friday, April 29, 2016

Group Thumb Wrestling

Our daily morning meetings consist of several regular features: a greeting, sharing time, a morning message, the Pledge of Allegiance and an activity. The activity could be a team building game, a game that promotes something we are learning in one of the content areas or something that supports our character traits. We recently tried a fun team building activity - thumb wrestling. We began with regular thumb wrestling but then tried to work together as a crew and have all of us thumb wrestle in one big group. It was loads of fun. Ask your child to tell you all about it. The idea for the activity came from the short TED talk below called Massively Multi-Player...Thumb Wrestling. If you get this post by email, you will need to go directly to the blog to view this 5 minute video.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bees and Pollen

EToday we used a dried bee to demonstrate how bees gather the pollen from flowers. The pollen sticks to the little hairs on bees which helps the pollen get from one flower to another as it brushes off the bee. Bees also put pollen into pockets or baskets on their hind legs to carry back to the hive to eat and make into bee bread for their babies. Who knew that bees could be so fascinating? 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Working Like Scientists - Accurate Drawings with Labels

We are continuing to learn more about bees and how they help the garden system. They do above the ground work while the worms are hard at work underground. We recently drew detailed pictures of a honey bee and labelled the important body parts. We worked hard to draw this accurately so others could learn from our drawings. Check out a few samples below.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Buzzing with Excitement!

As you know, we have started the next part of our study of the garden system for our Down to Earth Expedition. Today we took a close look at bees. We each got a dried bee (from Mr. Leo's beehive) and glued it to a stick for easier handling and viewing. We will use these bees in an experiment with pollen on flowers later in the week. Send in flowers with pollen if you have any.

So far we have learned about worms, seeds, seedlings and roots as part of the garden system. Now we are studying how bees play a part in this system, too. We are buzzing with excitement!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Transplanting our Seedlings

Our seedlings were beginning to outgrow their seedling tray. We decided to transplant them into small pots to give them more room to grow. Hopefully they will be happy with their new, temporary home and will grow and grow. Our current plan is to plant them in the garden during the last week of school. Pictured below are our transplanted plants. I forgot to take my iPad out to take pictures when we did the actual planting on Friday.

Important Dates
5/11 Student-Led Conferences for First Grade
5/30 No School ~ Memorial Day
6/1 Last Day of School ~ Nooooo! 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Empty Pot

The crew performed their play, The Empty Pot, this afternoon. You can see how all of the hard work paid off. They did a great job! Enjoy the photos and those in the photo album linked below. I decided not to take any video since almost all of you were there to see it in person. Thanks to Ms. Chelsea for putting together such a cute show!

MinM (Minds in Motion)
Our MinM next week is Sustainability.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Free Choice Stations

You may remember that before Spring Break, the crew and I generated a list of things that we wanted to try after Spring Break. One of them was to have free choice during station time - free choice of activity and free choice of who to work with. We have tried that idea the last two Fridays and we recently sat down and talked about it as a crew to see how we thought it was going. All of the crew immediately agreed that they thought they it was too loud during that time. They had a hard time talking with their partners and hearing their partners. They also felt like some areas were too crowded. We talked about how this all might impact others: hard for me to teach reading groups at this time and it was hard for Ms. Josie to work with her students and some kids really just didn't like the extra noise. I loved that they all could see why we do stations the way we do them most of the time. They noticed that when they had a specific station they tried more of the activities that are available in our room, they were quieter and things were calmer, they didn't have to spend so much time negotiating for turns and space. I was very impressed with their awareness and their thinking. So by the end of the discussion, we had made some new agreements:
  • We will still have free choice time but only once a week so that we have some "calm" days.
  • We will do free choice time on Wednesdays - the day that Ms. Josie isn't here - so that we don't interrupt her work.
  • We will have set areas for the "louder" activities.
  • We will have limits for the amount of items one group can have out at a time and how many people are in a group.
  • People will need it will take a short break and read a book before returning to the group.
We discussed all of this without a lot of teacher involvement. They pointed out the concerns and they came up with the solutions. They are such deep thinkers.

Below are some pictures of free choice times - some from before our new agreements and some after. I have to say that all our our thinking paid off. They did a fantastic job today. They worked well with each other, they shared the space and kept the noise level down. They worked longer on bigger projects with a wide variety of friends - they were so proud of their collaboration. I was able to teach my reading groups and enjoy the work they the rest of the crew was creating.